by Oliver Plunkett
When Irish broadcaster Raidió Teilifís Éireann (RTÉ) featured a blasphemous portrayal of God as a rapist in their New Year’s Eve ‘Countdown Show,’ Catholics protested. On January 9, volunteers from the Irish Society for Christian Civilisation (ISFCC) went to RTÉ’s headquarters in Dublin. They were joined by three hundred Catholics from across Ireland who prayed and made reparation in front of the location. This gathering was spontaneous and leaderless, conforming to Ireland’s rigid COVID-19 prevention measures that have banned any organized events, even prayer.
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Threatened Arrest for “Leading the Rosary”
Thirty officers of the An Garda Síochána (Irish Police) also went to the peaceful and legal gathering. They first directed their efforts on those they incorrectly judged to be “leading” the prayers.
Two Garda officers asked an ISFCC volunteer to leave for “leading the Rosary” or risk being arrested. The young volunteer complied but not before they had obtained his name and address. Several others were also asked for their names and addresses before being ordered to leave the area.
“The real offenders are RTÉ”
Referring to the police action, one man pointed out the “real offenders are RTÉ.” Calling its blasphemous show a “huge offense,” he said, “they are the people the Gardaí should be interviewing and asking for names, addresses, etc.” Ignoring provocations from one Garda officer who said “God doesn’t exist,” the Catholic demonstrators kept their focus, announcing prayer intentions:
“We are here to make reparation to God and Our Lady for the terrible and unspeakable blasphemy RTÉ committed on their New Year’s Eve ‘Countdown Show.’ And to make clear that we will not tolerate such vile attacks on God, our loving Father, Who can do no evil. We pray that this rally consoles Our Lord and Our Lady and at least repairs in part the damage done by RTÉ to God’s Holy Name.”
People’s Reactions to RTÉ Blasphemy
One lady said she was devastated by the attack. “It is heartbreaking. Both of my parent’s fathers fought for the freedom of Ireland before and during the uprising. They would be shocked that Ireland has sold its soul.” A man from Clare said, “I never watch the station because of their anti-God anti-life [mentality] towards all things that are right.”
Seeing the massive reaction, RTÉ first made two guarded apologies to “offended viewers” and then to itself for breaking its own standards. Joseph, an attendee at the impromptu prayer rally, called it a “lame apology,” adding, “we’re here to demand that RTÉ apologize to God, not to us, and not to themselves.” This demand is only just and normal since apologies should be made to the person offended.
“God will not be Mocked”
Another protester, Joseph, who saw the blasphemous attack as act of persecution against the Catholic Church, warned: “God will not be mocked. It is sins like these blasphemies that bring the vengeance of God on a nation. Sins like this will bring the downfall of Ireland.”
One prayer warrior pointed out the hypocrisy. “No other religion would be flayed so publicly on such an important holiday.” A young Kerry man added, “The name of God should be esteemed and feared. Yet, RTÉ thinks that it is a name that can be made fun of. I thought reparation needed to be done, so I came.”
Finally, “RTÉ unreservedly apologises”
RTÉ falsely reported that “around 60 people have protested outside RTÉ.” However, thanks be to God, three hundred people came to pray and make reparation. As a consequence, RTÉ issued an apology in the following terms: “RTÉ acknowledges this did not show due respect to religious beliefs and was also unduly offensive to many viewers and RTÉ unreservedly apologises.”
Encouraged by this victory, the Irish Society for Christian Civilisation trusts in Our Lady, asking for calm, confidence, and courage. By defending God, the Blessed Mother and Christian society, it hopes to return Ireland not only to the land of saints and scholars but also to a land of fighters for the Catholic Church.